BURLINGTON, Vt. – With a career day by Tiana-Jo Carter and new career achievements set by Shereesha Richards and Imani Tate, the UAlbany women’s basketball team took down Vermont 75-40 on the road to continue its undefeated run in America East play.
In the game, two players set new milestones. Richards passed Jamar Wilson as the all-time scoring leader in UAlbany basketball history, women’s or men’s, standing with 2,171 career points. In addition, Tate, with 19 points today, surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her career.
“I feel good, it is great to have that honor,” said Richards of her record. “I just feel good.”
“It still feels the same, it is not that big of a deal to me,” said Tate.
Runs of 9-1 and 11-0 in the first half helped UAlbany (19-3, 10-0 AE) lead by 16 at the break over Vermont (7-16, 2-8 AE). From there, UAlbany held its opponent to single digit points in the two remaining quarters to seal the game.
“Everybody did a good job of stepping up, and that is what a good team does, they step up when everyone is down. When Shereesha [Richards] wasn’t feeling well, Tiana-Jo Carter stepped up with a big double-double.”
Carter earned career-highs of 18 points and 18 rebounds, adding a pair of blocks to lead UAlbany.
“Our coach said we needed to play defense, and that was our biggest thing coming into today,” said Carter. “As a team, we worked on getting out at the three-point shooters today.”
Tate led all players with 19 points, five assists and four steals, adding nine rebounds. Richards finished with nine points and four rebounds. Zakiya Saunders was 5-8 from the field for 10 points and three assists.
For Vermont, Andreana Thomas concluded with 12 points and seven rebounds. Lauren Handy had 11 points off the bench.
Each side had early struggles on offense against the other team’s zone. A couple of Katie Lavelle shots from underneath the basket for an early 4-2 Vermont lead.
Tate came off the bench early in the first and jump-started the UAlbany offense. At 6-5 Vermont, Richards hit the turnaround jumper along the baseline to set the new UAlbany basketball all-time scoring record at 2,165 points.
After a couple of exchanges, Tate rushed into the paint to grab a missed free throw and put it back, then added two free throws. Following two Lauren Handy free throws, Carter hit a lay-up and one while fouled in transition, with two more Richards free throws completing the run at 9-1. A late Carter lay-up put UAlbany up 22-14 after one.
With Saunders pacing action early with the quarter’s first two baskets, Thomas attacked the basket to get a couple of makes for Vermont. A Thomas lay-up in transition pulled the home team within seven at 28-21 with 4:49 left in the 2nd.
Erin Coughlin’s three-point shooting helped spread the zone to allow for shots underneath the basket. A combination of two Coughlin threes, a couple of free throws and a Richards lay-up underneath put together an 11-0 run to build the lead to 39-21. UAlbany took a 41-25 advantage into the locker room.
With Carter hitting the first two layups, Saunders hit a mid-range jumper on the elbow to complete a third quarter-beginning 6-0 run. Vermont put together its own 6-2 run off the guards running into the paint, making it 49-31 UAlbany midway through the 3rd.
Tate hit the next three baskets, including a long one from the elbow to reach 1,000 points in her career. Tate next passed to Carter for the hard shot and score off the window. UAlbany did not allow any field goals in the final 5:23 of the 3rd quarter and led 59-33 after three.
The defense continued to hold Vermont without a field goal until midway through the quarter. Bose Aiyalogbe, Tate and Bailey Hixson kept the run going with an 8-0 sprint to put the lead at 34. In all, UAlbany allowed just two field goals in the fourth quarter and took the 75-40 victory.
UAlbany has a quick turnaround, hosting Binghamton at the SEFCU Arena on Monday, February 8th at 7 p.m.